November 2017
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How Loss of Alone Time, Constant Caretaking, & Medication Stigma Almost Killed Me


icon: "honesty (me, outdoors, gazing straight at the camera with a solemn expression)"

I've told this story many times now, though never as one piece: How Loss of Alone Time, Constant Caretaking, & Medication Stigma Almost Killed Me. In the worst period of my life, when I was suicidal for months and felt in more pain every day, I learned several vital things:

1) relationships don't have to be abusive to be profoundly damaging.
2) self-awareness is as necessary for safety as anything else.
3) I literally cannot handle living in a place where anyone wants my attention randomly every day.
4) just because you can caretake someone does not mean that you should.
5) giving doesn't have to be in huge pieces to take a huge toll.
6) once you are situationally depressed for long enough, your brain can forget how to be non-depressed and need chemical help.

I love Kylei as one of my favorite people, but living with them when they didn't have someone else to have casual social interaction with (and thus talked to me randomly through the day whenever we were both at home) was one of the most depressing and draining things I have ever experienced. It was just as bad for me -- if not worse than -- living with an abusive person.

It wasn't good for them either because the best I could offer was not enough to be nourishing, so it drained them also. Let me emphasize here: I was not doing anything that felt generous; I was not doing anything that was significantly helpful. I was allowing them to come into my room 3-4 times a day and randomly engage me in conversation for 1-3 minutes. That's it. I didn't think to tell them not to for months because it was 'such a small thing' that I could 'easily afford to give.' But it was torture for me. They were small gifts but they took superhuman effort from me.

I felt just as much need to hide as I did when I lived with my abusive parents. I had to be just as hypervigilant and seeing them became a stress to the point where we couldn't have any good interactions. Yet I missed them and was sad to have none of the connection that I wanted because there was too much of the unwanted! this made it even worse than when I was living with someone abusive who I didn't want to be around: that at least I could withdraw from and feel better. Withdrawing from Kylei made me feel worse because I missed them! But I just cannot deal with unexpected real-time interaction. It only took about six months of that for me to be drained to the point where I could not recognize myself.

There was additional stuff going on at the time, but most of the reason I can't handle this is because with my ADD-PI, that breaks down my ability to process anything; it literally shatters my ability to think. My thinking becomes disjointed and even more forgetful, like the thinking of a person who hasn't slept in three days. I can't do any art or reading or anything that matters to me at all, which rapidly increases any latent depression and makes me feel worthless.

I learned that I mustn't allow people to randomly talk to me when I am at home, that I mustn't take on responsibility as a person's only source of comfort (nor be more than 70% of their comfort), and that I mustn't be the only one initiating connection with anyone for more than a few months. I was doing all three of these things and together it made me drained to the point where I could not even feel the most basic motivation of my life: empathy.

I could no longer care about any suffering, human or otherwise. Even when I realized the problem and stopped it happening, nothing got better. My brain ran completely out of the chemicals necessary to feel happiness, and stayed there for about four months. Every day I would have said it couldn't hurt more and then the next day it did.

[CN/TW: suicidal ideation, deep depression, medication, stigma against mental health medication]
--------CN/TW: suicidal ideation, deep depression, medication, stigma against mental health medication (the rest of this entry)--------

I would have committed suicide if not for the fact that Topaz had already experienced too much tragedy for me to be able to handle the guilt of causing more pain for them. I daydreamed about making them hate me so that I could feel free from that guilt and able to kill myself, but that would have required me breaking my ethical code to do things that would cause them to hate me. I didn't think about anyone else. I didn't feel like anyone else would really care, even though I knew logically that people would mourn. I felt unloved and unloveable and it was only through Topaz proving daily that they cared that I managed to believe that they did love me.

Eventually I felt desperate enough that I went to get medication. I was put on citalopram, and after a month of slowly stepping it up, I stopped feeling worse every day. Just that was such a relief I can't even describe. After a few months, I started to feel better each day rather than just the same. A few months after that I started to feel aware of being numb and it started making me feel worse, so I weaned myself off of the drug. This all totaled maybe 8 months. Mental health medication saved my life.

There are people who push their personal quackery on others who are depressed, telling them to "just" exercise, meditate, think happy thoughts, take herbs, change their diet, etc. That might work if you're just feeling a little bad one day. It does not fucking work when your brain has worn a rut in the negative emotion pathways and forgotten that the positive emotion pathways even exist! Also, while talk therapy is effective and important, it only works if the problem is that you need to process your experiences -- it doesn't work if the problem is chemical!

I suffered so much longer and so much worse than I had to, because of the stigma against depression medication. If not for the coincidental timing of Topaz, stigma against medication would have killed me. I did not try to get medication until after I was already suicidal enough to go through with it. I will not take any of that quackery lightly because it literally kills people.

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Comments
darkestgarden ══╣╠══
Don't have anything more specific to say at the moment, but I read the whole entry and I feel grateful for your sharing, thank you.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
you're most welcome *hearts*
tarakins42 ══╣╠══
I've been that state of depression and suicidal ideation numerous times and I slowly feel like I might be headed in that direction again., but I'm fighting it with all that I've got.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
I feel you. I hope you have all the support you need, and that your life pushes you away from that direction.
tarakins42 ══╣╠══
Unfortunately I don't really have the support I need, but I am thankful for my therapist at least. I still seem to be heading in that direction and its scary.
jwaaaa ══╣╠══
good work!
Please Visit!



Please Visit!
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
thanks!
fayriekisses ══╣╠══
Thank you for sharing this. I needed to hear this today.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
I am glad it met that need *hearts*
nonnicat ══╣╠══
Thank you so much for sharing this.

In many ways, it reminds me of my relationship with my father. In other ways, and this is painful for me to admit, but it reminds me of my relationship with my boyfriend, but with me being on the other end.

I realize how important it is for me to change my habits. It's a scary thing to understand.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
you're most welcome. I understand what you mean -- conflicting needs are difficult to navigate.
topum ══╣pic#125858796╠══
What those short conversations were usually about? Did they involve them dumping their depression on you?
belenen ══╣artless╠══
The topics were completely random, not usually depression related. They didn't spring depression on me -- we only talked about that when we were intentionally spending time together.
ragnarok_08 ══╣A19 ★ the heart and strength╠══
Oh wow - thank you so so so much for sharing.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
you're most welcome!
allywest ══╣╠══
i agree w you on medication. some people suggested it, but a lot more people influenced my decisions by being forcefully against medication. it especially hurt when I'd hear 'get off that poison' and do this that or the other thing, or 'you'd feel better if you weren't on that medication'. ugh.

i am on the same drug you mentioned and it was as you described it. i normally awoke each morning with a sense of 'doom' and dread over me. after taking this, i didn't feel that. at higher doses i did start to feel numb as well. but in general i believe it to be a gentle effective medication with minimal withdrawal symptoms. some family and friends are on it too and they like it, and so i'm happy to suggest it to someone who feels they are struggling but aren't sure about medication.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
*nods* I wish people would stop acting like mind medication is some kind of evil. *shakes head*
br0ken_dolly ══╣╠══
thanks for sharing this. i also get really frazzled and lose my ability to concentrate when i'm interrupted randomly, even for the most trivial or brief reasons. i didn't realize it until a few years ago when my partner and i lived with another partner who was also home all day with me (being chronically ill). that partner did turn out to be abusive with their need for attention and to control all situations, so i assumed it was mostly a unique reaction. but now my partner and i work together from home right next to each other, and i'm easily distracted by questions or comments of varying complexity. (and this relationship is solid and healthy, so i'm seeing how the previous experience wasn't due to abuse at all, although i'm certain that our ex took advantage of the ability to rattle me like that.)
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
*nods* I can see how that first experience would make it more difficult to realize! It was easier for me to notice with Kylei because I knew they cared about my needs and would work very hard to avoid damaging me in any way; I knew the problem wasn't abusiveness or even carelessness.
acid_burns ══╣ta/ scarlet's walk through the voilets╠══
Thank you for sharing this ::heart::
belenen ══╣artless╠══
*love!*
volamonster ══╣descent of man╠══
Thank you for sharing this. I feel I know you even more intimately now and I value that deeply.
belenen ══╣connate╠══
aww, thank you *heartglow*
fairytaleguise ══╣╠══
I appreciate your honesty so much. Thank you for sharing this and I am so, so glad you are no longer in that place.

I would also like to share that although we have chosen not to take medication for ourselves, it's not out of any anti-medication stance at all, but just out of having such extreme drug reactions to even simple things like cough mixture that the effects cancel out any good they do. We are very pro finding what works for every individual; our body just has very set ideas on what it will work with.

Just adding that in case you come across it on our journal so you know from the outset that there is absolutely no medication stigma or anything like that there.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
*nods* I totally understand that. Thanks for explaining!
meri_sielu ══╣black wolf gaze╠══
You truly are one of the most honest and inspirational people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and being able to interact with. Your openessness is admirable and I thank you so much for being able to share your experiences so freely. You are very strong. <3
belenen ══╣artless╠══
awww thank you so much *love!*
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.